Citing public interest and communal harmony, the BJP government argued that existing legislation provided for only a three-year jail term for cow slaughter and had several flaws. The state government amended it in July 2010 and sent it to the President. The new provisions will enable authorities to punish transporters, their employees and drivers with jail terms from six months to three years.
Cow slaughter is now a serious offence and could invite a jail term of up to seven years in Madhya Pradesh. Consuming, keeping or transporting beef of any cow progeny will invite the same punishment. A police official not below the rank of a head constable — or any person authorised by a competent authority — has the power to enter, inspect and search any premises “where he has reason to believe that an offence (under this Act) has been, is being or is likely to be committed and take necessary action’’.
These stringent provisions will be notified after the Madhya Pradesh Gau-Vansh Vadh Pratishedh (Sanshodhan) Bill, 2010 received the President’s assent on December 22. The Centre felt that raiding premises merely on the assumption that an offence is “likely” could be misused and recommended that such power be limited to cases when an offence had taken place or was taking place. The amended legislation has disregarded the recommendation.